The Complete Guide: How to Control Type 1 Diabetes?

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

How to Control Type 1 Diabetes
Living with diabetes, hypertension or any other chronic disease requires you to do multiple things – track vitals, take medicines & stay on top of your health at all times. If this overwhelms you, switch to Phable – India’s No. 1 BP & Sugar Management App to manage your condition better. Take charge of your health and stay connected with doctors, order medicines and do a whole lot more from the comfort of your home.

Being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes could be a rude shock, especially since it is a lifelong condition with no known cure yet. However, not all hope is lost as the condition can be managed well. Read on to understand how to control Type 1 Diabetes. 

Contents:
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    What is Type 1 Diabetes and What Causes it?
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    What are the Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?
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    How to Keep Type 1 Diabetes Under Control?
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    What are the Complications of Type 1 Diabetes?
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
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    FAQs
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What is Type 1 Diabetes and What Causes it?

Type 1 Diabetes mellitus, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or simply Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, in which your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells in your pancreas that produce the insulin hormone. Thus, there is little to no insulin production in your body if you have Type 1 Diabetes.

Your body digests the food you eat and breaks it down into glucose (sugar). This sugar gets absorbed into your bloodstream. Insulin acts as a key for letting the sugar enter your cells, where it is converted into energy. Thus, insulin helps regulate the amount of sugar present in your blood. 

In Type 1 Diabetes, there is no insulin production and thus no uptake of sugar by your cells, resulting in high blood sugar levels and related symptoms. 

The exact cause of Type 1 Diabetes is not yet known. However, people with Type 1 Diabetes may have been born with a genetic susceptibility toward autoimmune conditions. Type 1 Diabetes may be triggered in susceptible individuals due to certain immunological or environmental factors like exposure to chemicals, viruses, etc. which may destroy the β-cells. 

Some factors that can increase your risk for developing Type 1 Diabetes include age, genetics, and family history. Unlike Type 2 Diabetes, poor diet and lifestyle habits do not play a role in the development of Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes primarily affects children, adolescents and young adults. However, it can also be diagnosed in older adults.

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What are the Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?

The symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes are generally due to high blood glucose levels. The most commonly observed symptoms in Type 1 Diabetes are as follows:

How to Keep Type 1 Diabetes Under Control?

Type 1 Diabetes is diagnosed through blood tests to check your blood glucose levels. 

Once your blood glucose levels are determined, Type 1 Diabetes is diagnosed and differentiated from Type 2 Diabetes by performing tests including the islet autoantibodies test, C-peptide test, and ketone test.

Management of Type 1 Diabetes includes insulin therapy, dietary changes, regular physical activity, and frequent blood glucose monitoring.

Insulin Therapy

Currently, insulin is the only available medication for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes. Regular human insulin is a synthetically manufactured hormone, which is chemically similar to the insulin produced naturally by your pancreas.

You need to take insulin as prescribed by your doctor to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Your insulin dosage can vary based on your carbohydrate intake and physical activity levels. Consult your doctor to determine the dosage of insulin you need to take. 

Dietary Changes 

Your diet is one of the foremost ways of managing Type 1 Diabetes. A balanced diet with essential macro and micronutrients can be helpful in avoiding the complications associated with Type 1 Diabetes. For Type 1 Diabetes dietary management, include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, dairy, beans, and legumes in your diet in the right amounts.

Avoid processed foods and foods that are rich in simple carbohydrates, saturated fats, and added sugars, as they can worsen your glycaemic control.

Regular Physical Activity 

Exercise is an important aspect of Type 1 Diabetes management. Exercising regularly can help keep your blood sugar levels in control and avoid complications such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, etc. It can also boost your energy, improve sleep, relieve stress, and enhance your mental well-being.

However, exercise can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels for Type 1 Diabetics. Hence, it is important to take precautions like planning the time and duration of your workouts, having a carbohydrate-rich snack handy, and monitoring your blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise to avoid hypoglycaemic or hyperglycemic episodes.

Frequent Blood Glucose Monitoring

The best way to control Type 1 Diabetes is to bring your blood glucose levels to a relatively normal range where it does not cause any health issues. Thus, monitoring and recording your blood glucose levels can help you keep track and help your doctor devise your treatment plan accordingly.

Blood glucose monitoring on a daily basis can also help you adjust insulin dosage and carbohydrate intake and detect any spikes or dips in blood sugar levels so you can take corrective measures to avoid complications. 

Monitoring your blood glucose levels is easy and now possible from the comfort of your home using a glucometer, flash glucose monitoring system and continuous glucose monitoring system.

What are the Complications of Type 1 Diabetes?

If you notice any symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes, make sure you visit your doctor at the earliest and get yourself checked. Untreated Type 1 Diabetes can cause long-term and short-term complications that can affect your health adversely. 

The complications of Type 1 Diabetes are caused by unchecked and persistently high blood glucose levels. With time, high blood glucose levels can lead to short-term complications such as hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis.

The long-term complications that Type 1 Diabetes can cause include cardiovascular disease, ischemic stroke, diabetic nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Type 1 Diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disorder, in which your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in your pancreas. There is little to no insulin production in your body, resulting in high blood sugar levels. 
  • The exact cause of Type 1 Diabetes is not yet known. Some factors that can increase your risk of developing it include age, genetics, and family history. Type 1 Diabetes primarily affects children, adolescents and young adults but can also be diagnosed in older adults.
  • The symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger, unintended weight loss, fatigue, vision changes, and slow-healing wounds. 
  • Type 1 Diabetes is diagnosed through blood tests to check your blood glucose levels. The diagnosis is confirmed with tests including the islet autoantibodies test, C-peptide test, and ketone test.
  • Management of Type 1 Diabetes includes insulin therapy, dietary changes, regular physical activity, and frequent blood glucose monitoring.
  • If untreated, Type 1 Diabetes can lead to short-term complications such as hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis and long-term complications including cardiovascular disease, ischemic stroke, diabetic nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides ‎360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks insulin-producing beta cells. Some people are born with a genetic predisposition to developing Type 1 Diabetes, though not all of them develop it. Some of the environmental triggers for Type 1 Diabetes include exposure to certain viruses or harmful chemicals, not being breastfed as a child, and living in cold climates.

Type 1 Diabetes cannot be controlled only through dietary changes. Healthier food choices and watchful carbohydrate intake can help you manage Type 1 Diabetes symptoms when combined with regular physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, and insulin therapy. 

No. Vitamin D cannot reverse Type 1 Diabetes because the condition cannot be reversed. It can only be managed with Insulin therapy, a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and blood glucose monitoring. 

No, Type 1 diabetics cannot survive without insulin. Without insulin therapy, the blood glucose levels for Type 1 diabetics will be uncontrolled and persistently high, leading to severe complications.

No. Although Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease and thus related to the immune system, it does not mean that Type 1 diabetics get sick more often. 

Type 1 Diabetes cannot be controlled naturally because there is no cure for it. The condition can be controlled or managed with Insulin therapy and a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and blood glucose monitoring.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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